with upraised hands is
the icon type of the Mother of
God in prayer (Orans), but with Christ on Her breast. This prayer
gesture of upraised hands was known both in the Old Testament and
in the Greco-Roman world. The earlist known image of the Mother
of God Orans is from the IVth century.
Here Christ is depicted in a mandorla which is a circular or oval iconographic symbol signifying heaven, Divine Glory, or Light. The Old Testament prophecies end with Isaiah: "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Emmanuel" (Isaiah vii:14).